Deflect : Mental Health Application

Hello me,

Your mind got the best of you, again. Your thoughts became the enemy of your existence, and your self-confidence took the brunt of it all– leading you to lose your mental cool. Then, after the lack of control, my-mind-is-a-monster feeling sets in, you were disappointed that you couldn’t keep it together.

Now let’s give this monstrous mind a context.

India and various Mental health issues

As per 2016,With a population of 1.3 Billion,7.5% Indians suffer from mental disorders and people still hear this : “What have you got to be depressed about?”, “It’s all in your head!” , “But you were laughing earlier, you can’t be depressed!” Here are some statistics.

My Role

As a part of my studies at GA-Melbourne, I was given an opportunity to to work on a project individually, choose a topic of my interest and produce a deliverable within a timeline of two weeks.

Goal

Design a digital product to :

  • Help users divert their thoughts when sad emotions rear their heads
  • Track the user’s emotions
  • Promote awareness about Mental Health Disorders

Discovery

Competitors :

  1. Headspace

2. Pacifica

3. Mind Shift : App to help teenagers dealing with social anxiety and provide suggestions based on situations.

4. Wysa- Chatbot

Key Findings from Competitors :

  • Journaling your emotions
  • Chat
  • Suggestions based on situations
  • Facts about mental health issues-focusing on topics that matter to you

Interesting facts from this research were that most of the users when they feel low, resort to using their phone to distract themselves. Hence designing a mobile application seemed to be an ideal solution.

Users

Defining my users helped me use them constantly throughout the project. It guided design decisions, priorities, and create empathy in me.

1.Rhea, a 25 year old tech savvy who isn’t a big sharer.

Pains :

  • Not knowing the reason for feeling low
  • Not able to open up to relatives
  • Pausing every other activity because of this feeling

Gains :

  • Motivate the user
  • Find the cause for feeling low
  • Activities to divert the mind
  • Access to help and support

2. Lakshmi, 60 year old home maker who loves to talk but she isn’t allowed to express herself.

Pains :

  • Not understanding the concept of Mental health disorder in depth
  • Only depressed when at home
  • She sees her emotion reflect on her kid

Gains :

  • Needs a support group-people to reach out to
  • Provide the user a space to vent out their emotions.

3. Ram, a 58 year old man who is clueless about mental health issues.

Pains :

  • Not open to understanding Mental Health Disorders
  • Believes that such disorders doesn’t exist and the person is just making excuses

Gains :

  • Importance of Therapy and Diagnosis
  • Provide reliable sources of information on Mental Health Disorder

Key Findings from these users :

  • Give the user a space to distract themselves immediately when they feel low.
  • The need to vent out their emotions
  • Spread awareness about mental health disorders

The Problem

People who feel low or sad are scared to share their thoughts with their relatives/friends/reach out for professional help due to the stigma around it.

They carry the baggage along all the way.

The Solution

Provide users:

  • a variety of options to distract themselves at that moment
  • a space to track their emotions
  • facts on mental health disorders and its importance.

Design

Ideation

  • Facial muscles recognition-with sensors, the device can tell the emotion of the user and also document it
  • Use of Social Media : Help people reach out to someone online. With the use of hashtags and understanding emotions.
  • Be a part of a community

Feature Prioritisation

Key concept- Personalisation across the experience

Phase 1 features : Activities

User flow

Usability Testings and Iterations

HOMESCREEN OPTIONS AND ACTIVITY SCREENS

Usability testing feedback

  • Communication needed more clarity, layout seemed cluttered, which would cause more anxiety in the user.
  • The communication seemed negative. It hurts the user if they are told that they are sad.
  • Plugging in headphones and sleeping didn’t seem feasible. Suggestion to plug in only on flight sleep(which could be renamed)
  • Duration of the soundtrack is essential
  • It gets boring if all the activities are listed out. Release a few every day-to surprise the user.
  • Communication needs to be more positive
  • Save some activities that the user likes

Prototype

Play with the prototype and fight the inner demon.

A mind work out with a bunch of activities to play with

Onboarding screen- when the user installs the app

Emotion tracking and Activities -To help Rhea distract herself

Product Roadmap

Phase 2 of the app :

  • Clinically effective : Notice the emotion pattern and probably suggest the need for treatment
  • Reminders : There is never a right time to check in on the user. Ways to fix that problem

Phase 3 of the app :

  • Emotion recognition : Using ‘emotion engine’ track the user’s emotion and document data
  • Improve role of community : Let members guide the user to therapy and diagnosis if required

Screens : Facts and Community- To help Ram and Lakshmi learn about Mental health issues and provide a space to vent respectfully.

My Reflections

Mental health issues is one of my favourite topics to talk about. This project gave me a fresher perspective on how people communicate their thoughts to one another. Sharing your experiences will help you get rid of this emotional baggage.

I learnt that there is no benefit in holding your thoughts to yourself just like how the UX process involves multiple perspectives.

UX Designer at MakeMyTrip